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Today, I would like to share a couple of short conversations that delighted me and (I hope) will help you smile as well.

A member of our full-time team approached me this summer with an observation I have never heard before. She is a proud and skilled mother of two boys.

“I want to share something I realized after watching counselor orientation.

“I read through the counselor manual and watched several of the training sessions. I heard thoughts on fostering strength, promoting kindness and the importance of sleep. Some of the sessions were fun, but others were dense with psychological insights like encouraging ‘growth mindsets’ and recognizing ways to get children into receptive states before sharing guidance.

“Watching all of this, I suddenly remembered the thought that almost every parent has with their first child – ‘I wish this baby came with an owner’s manual’. There is nothing in our lives as important as raising our kids, yet we get more training on driving a car than raising a kiddo.

“But I was wrong, there IS an owner’s manual.

“It is our counselor orientation! These counselors are learning so many things that I had to learn the hard way. This is so exciting to me!”

OK, let me start by saying that she is one of those people who is modest about her many gifts and quick to share credit with others. She is a great mom and clearly had an “owner’s manual” from her own upbringing and family.

I also think that our orientation is good, but not that good.

With that said, I can think of few comments that brought me as much satisfaction than hers. We take our responsibility to serve your family very seriously and strive to be more than guardians, but also mentors and guides. If our orientation feels a little like a Young Person Owner’s Manual, then we are providing our counselors with some of the right tools.

My second story came from a 20 year-old male counselor. I was asking him about the difference between college and camp, specifically about sleep schedules. I suggested that no one can thrive at camp using the same sleep schedule they have in college. During college, a lot of time is down time (or semi-down time). You can decide your own schedule and prioritize your needs and wants. At camp, you are more physically active. Your schedule and activities are the result of the needs and wants of your campers, not yourself. Connecting with multiple campers requires more mental focus than hanging out or ever studying at school.

After this explanation, he said something that surprised me.

“You are right, I need more sleep here.” [Note: this part did not surprise me. Everyone agrees that you need an extra hour of sleep at camp. It was the next sentence that impressed.]

“I also like to go to bed because I am excited to wake up in the morning. It has been a long time since the morning greeted me with anticipation rather than a desire to hit the snooze button.”

Wow. That is so encouraging.

For me, I found waking the next day slightly more joyful. I love that the enthusiasm of a college student is still contagious for me.

Steve Sir